Sunday, 12 September 2010

Coloured Pencil Book Review by Pauline Longley

Pauline Longley was the second person to win a copy of Botanical Painting with Coloured Pencils by UKCPS member Ann Swan SBA GM in our blog competition and her book review appears below.

This year Ann Swan was one of the judges of the artwork selected for the 9th Annual Open International Exhibition which opens at the Stamford Arts Centre on Monday 13th September 2010.  The exhibition continues until Friday 1st October.

Pauline Longley reading
Botanical Painting with Coloured Pencils
It is Saturday July 3rd and I am sat on my sunny patio doing the Telegraph crossword when the postman hands me the usual junk mail. He carries on to my neighbour only to return with a padded envelope containing a copy of Ann Swan’s Botanical Painting book that I have agreed to review.

I was immediately drawn to the colour of the book and how it co-ordinates with the flowers on the dust jacket. Pinks and purples are an unusual colour scheme for an art book. I couldn’t wait to get reading so whilst my 13 year old grandsons, who had stayed overnight, were engrossed in their computer games I managed to get to page 27 before I heard cries of “Grandma I’m hungry”. “Just a minute Callum.” Callum is always hungry. I then get to page 29 before I here his brother Jack announce “Grandma I’m hungry”. Ah well life is never dull with grandchildren, bless them.

Two hours later, after Mum has arrived and we are all lunched out on salad from the garden and fresh fruit from the local market, daughter and grandchildren despatched home, I get to finish the book and what a lovely book it is too.

For me chapter 1 put into words my own thoughts and findings on coloured pencils which were encouraging. I couldn’t disagree with any of it.

If you are new to art there are great tips on composition, perspective, tone and colour theory in chapters 2, 3 and 4. In chapter 5 Ann has shared some of her coloured pencil techniques that I am sure more experienced artists will find fascinating.

I always seem to struggle with ‘greens’ and chapter 6 has a whole page dedicated to producing realistic greens in nature. As well as covering other colours that can cause issues to the inexperienced coloured pencil artist.

In chapters 7 and 8 Ann explains how she produces the great detail required for botanical art:, fine hairs, highlights, low lights, water droplets, tangled roots and more.

The last chapter showcases a gallery of her work. A fascinating read and a must for those who love to produce detail and realism in their art. I am not a botanical artist and I have no incentive to draw or paint flowers so precisely but this is not just about flowers as Ann shows, these techniques can be applied to vegetables too and I can see no reason why they can’t also be applied to other subjects.

Pauline Longley 2010

Note:  This book review post represents the views of the individual author only.  


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